August 15, 2014 Subject:
Joan is proof that Donna wasn't that bad
Anyone who complains about Donna should just give a listen to the acoustic set. Joan Baez is a nice lady, but I just can't figure out this awful singing she has. Case in point is Must've Been the Roses. Great song all the way through until she joins in. Awful, just awful.
January 1, 2014 Subject:
This is probably the most - I don't know - updated? full? complete? final? rendering of this legendary show on the archives - I can't thank CM enough for this one - it takes a pretty perfect soundboard and makes it even more perfect. If such a thing is possible. 12/31/81 towers above everything else the band did that year; it's almost unfair to compare. Some highlights/notes:
* Joan - many don't like her. I think she's a great fingerpicking guitar player and that voice, well - she certainly was the angel on that chariot, black night behind her, at Woodstock, was she not? Say what you will, she definitely is the most *topical* of songwriters there ever was - singing "Children of the 80s" and name-dropping the Grateful Dead at least twice in her set - *in the lyrics*. I don't know, I like her music. But she's all but impossible to harmonize with!
* Big Boss Man really does seal the first set. Jerry fits so easily into the role of lead singer on this one you're almost slapping yourself to remember it was Pigpen that owned this one for so long.
* the sheer confusing madness with Kesey - be sure to crank this one to the maximum your speakers can handle! Without doubt my favorite of Bill Graham's Happy New Year countdowns with this band. 2nd set - all but flawless - listen to Mickey or whoever it is intone "yeah! yeah!" as that post-Terrapin jam comes to life....this also sounds like the first time Mickey ever used the Beam - they definitely employ some pretty wild effects during the Drums that weren't common in the early 80s...
* Find the New Riders set if you can - it's awesome!
Got to mention one more time the sound quality. There are simply very few Dead shows that sound as perfectly clean as this board. It really does sound like a studio recording, but manages to retain the warmth of a live performance, the crowd just audible. In 24-bit, with all the flaws corrected that could possibly be, stream this one for the New Year if you have never heard it.